The Ticket

Biden, Ryan hit morning talk shows to debate the debate

Dylan Stableford
The Ticket

Romney and Obama at the town hall debate on Oct. 16, 2012 (John Moore/Getty)

A week after sparring in their own debate, Vice President Joe Biden and vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan hit the morning talk show circuit on Wednesday to talk about Tuesday night's town hall contest between President Barack Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney.

"I didn't have any doubt about how the president would perform," Biden said on "Good Morning America." "That's the guy I see in command—that's the guy I know."

"President Obama was absolutely at the top of his game last night," Biden said on the "Today" show. "And I also think that he was able to clearly draw a picture between a future under Obama and a future under Romney, and the thing that amazed me the most was even after three debates—his two and my own—there is still not a single specific in the Romney $5 trillion tax plan. I mean, everything—everything—is sketchy."

Biden continued: "There [are] no direct answers to any questions, and I think it's becoming clearer and clearer to the American people that there's a fair amount of rhetoric but not much substance, and I suspect, Savannah, that's because the president was right: They really do mirror the policies of George Bush on the economy, and they don't want to talk about it."

The vice president said it was a "real moment" when Obama and Romney appeared to be circling each other like prize fighters in a boxing ring.

"I don't know that I've [ever] seen that at a presidential debate, but the forum lent itself to that," Biden said. "I really thought it was a great forum for both of them to try to make their case, and so when they were kind of circling each other, it was like, 'OK, come on, man. Let's level with each other here.'"

[Related: More assertive Obama trades barbs with Romney, targets wealth issues]

Ryan, on the other hand, said Romney ran circles around Obama.

"The reason why I think Mitt Romney won this debate is because he gave the country a very clear choice and a very clear vision for about how we have a leader that will create jobs, grow the economy and get people back to work," the congressman said. "Look, it's not going well right now for our economy. It's not going well right now for the middle class. Mitt Romney offered people a very concrete vision about how he's got the experience, the knowledge to get people back to work to grow the economy."

"Today" show host Matt Lauer pressed Ryan on the GOP tax plan. "I've looked back at your interviews, congressman, over the last couple of months on this subject. You do not offer specifics," Lauer said. "Why?"

"Look, first of all, six independent studies showed that you can do exactly as we are suggesting," Ryan said. "What Mitt Romney learned as a Republican governor of a democratic state and what I've learned in getting bipartisan legislation moving is that you don't go to Congress and say, 'Here's all of our details, take it or leave it.' You say, 'This is my framework. Let's lower tax rates across the board, close loopholes for high-income people, make sure middle-income taxpayers are protected.'"

"Where's the leadership?" Lauer asked. "And you're a numbers guy."

"Right," Ryan responded. "And here's what I know, Matt. If you say to Congress, 'Take it or leave it, here's my plan, my way or the highway,' you don't get things done."

[Slideshow: Romney, Obama spar during second presidential debate]

On "Good Morning America," Biden accused Romney of using the attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens as a political pawn. "It became so clear to the American people the Romney campaign continues to try to politicize a tragedy," Biden said.

On "Today," Ryan defended the tactic.

"What we owe Chris Stevens, what we owe these Americans who gave their lives, are to make sure that we get to the bottom of this so we can prevent something like that from happening again," Ryan said. "That's what's so troubling about this story is that as the facts have come out—it doesn't speak well as to how the administration has handled this."

Earlier on "Today," Biden was asked to address critics who said he was laughing at Ryan during last week's vice presidential debate.

"He's a good man," Biden said of Ryan. "He's a solid guy. I like him. I wasn't laughing at him—I was laughing at some of the answers that were coming forward."